BOSTON— A First Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel ruled July 9 that while a federal judge in Puerto Rico abused his discretion when granting a juror’s oral request for a dictionary to look up the word “knowingly” during deliberations of a mail fraud trial against a doctor, the error was not prejudicial enough to warrant a new trial for the defendant (United States v. Anibal Pagan-Romano, No. 16-1396, 1st Cir., 2018 U.S. App. LEXIS 18594).
MINNEAPOLIS— A federal judge in Minnesota on July 6 dismissed two breach of contract claims from a man’s False Claims Act (FCA) lawsuit accusing six farm owners of illegally obtaining crop insurance proceeds, finding that the causes of action are subject to arbitration pursuant to a partnership agreement between the parties (United States, ex rel. Kenneth Kraemer, et al. v. United Dairies LLP, et al., No. 16-3092, D. Minn., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 112305).
CINCINNATI — A federal judge in Michigan did not abuse his discretion when resentencing a doctor convicted of health care fraud conspiracy, conspiracy to pay health care kickbacks and conspiracy to distribute a controlled substance to 68 months in prison, a Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel ruled June 25, holding that the judge sufficiently explained the starting point for the sentence and asked the defendant and his counsel if they read the presentence report (United States v. Carl Fowler, M.D., No. 17-1100, 6th Cir., 2018 U.S. App. LEXIS 17370).
SOUTH BEND, Ind. — A federal magistrate judge in Indiana on June 29 agreed to strike two paragraphs from a man’s indictment on four counts of mail fraud stemming from an alleged scheme to intentionally set fires to homes he owned to collect insurance proceeds, finding that the information in the paragraphs was unnecessary (United States of America v. Michael Thomas, No. 18-CR-00045 JD, N.D. Ind., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 108983).
ATLANTA — An 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on June 27 ruled that a federal judge in Georgia did not err when sentencing a Veterans Administration (VA) clinic’s former chief of the fee division to 27 months in prison for 50 counts of making false statements in connection with the delivery of, or payment for, health care services and one count of making a materially false statement to a federal agent, finding that the evidence presented by the government was sufficient and that the trial court judge did not err when imposing the sentence (United States of America v. Cathedral Henderson, No. 16-16984, 11th Cir., 2018 U.S. App. LEXIS 17634).
MINNEAPOLIS — A federal judge in Minnesota on June 26 denied a family’s motion for judgment as a matter of law, finding that State Farm Fire and Casualty Co. sufficiently showed during trial that the insureds made material misrepresentations about items that were lost in a fire (Todd Borchardt, et al. v. State Farm Fire and Casualty Co., No. 16-CV-0055, D. Minn., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 107355).
NEW YORK — A criminal investigation by the New York Attorney General’s Office to the billing practices of doctors and two clinics accused by State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Co. of submitting fraudulent claims and medical records does not warrant staying the defendants’ depositions, a federal magistrate judge in New York ruled June 25, noting that there hasn’t been any activity in the investigation for nearly a year (State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Co. v. Brij Mittal, M.D., et al., No. 16-CV-4948, E.D. N.Y., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 106100).
LAS VEGAS — A number of doctors accused of fraudulently inflating bills that were submitted to Allstate Insurance Co. and its subsidiaries so patients could attempt to extract more money from the company in personal injury lawsuits can face a lawsuit filed by the insurer, a federal judge in Nevada ruled June 18, finding that the claims are not barred by the Nevada litigation privilege or federal witness immunity (Allstate Insurance Co., et al. v. Russell J. Shah, M.D., et al., No. 15-cv-01786, D. Nev., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 101952).
FRANKFORT, Ky. — A Kentucky appeals court panel on June 22 upheld a trial judge’s ruling revoking probation for a man who pleaded guilty to insurance fraud, holding that the defendant’s probation violations resulted in a threat to the community (Richard N. Thompson v. Kentucky, Nos. 2015-CA-001938, Ky. App., 2018 Ky. App. Unpub. LEXIS 434).
ANN ARBOR, Mich. — A federal judge in Michigan on June 19 denied a doctor’s motion to dismiss a lawsuit brought by Allstate Insurance Co. accusing him and his practice of submitting fraudulent claims, finding that service of the complaint to his niece was sufficient to establish that he lived there (Allstate Insurance Co., et al. v. Utica Physical Therapy Inc., et al., No. 17-cv-13823, E.D. Mich., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 101764).
COVINGTON, Ky. — A federal judge in Kentucky on June 19 adopted a magistrate judge’s June 15 recommendation to order a man who pleaded guilty to three counts of aiding and abetting insurance fraud to serve 14 months in prison for violating the conditions of his supervised release (United States of America v. Roben Casey Bykovny, No. 15-36-DLB-CJS-7, E.D. Ky.).
ATLANTA — An 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on June 14 affirmed rulings by a federal judge in Georgia denying two defendants’ motions for acquittal, holding that the evidence presented by the government sufficiently showed that they conspired and committed mail fraud as part of a scheme to submit fraudulent insurance claims after setting homes on fire (United States v. Shirley Denise Burk, et al., No. 16-14248, 11th Cir., 2018 U.S. App. LEXIS 15979).
RIVERSIDE, Calif. — An appeals court panel in California on May 31 vacated a trial court judge’s ruling ordering a woman who pleaded guilty to one count of making a false statement in support of an insurance claim to pay $1,042.17 in restitution to an insurance company, finding that the company did not take into account the costs it incurred as a result of its investigation of the defendant’s claim (People of California v. Alyce J. Williams, No. D072783, Calif. App., 4th Dist., 1st Div., 2018 Cal. App. Unpub. LEXIS 3728).
PITTSBURGH — The owner of an opioid addiction treatment center was indicted in Pennsylvania federal court June 5 on charges of health care fraud, conspiracy to unlawfully distribute a controlled substance, and aiding and abetting the unlawful distribution of a controlled substance for allegedly dispensing buprenorphine, a drug used to treat addiction, and submitting fraudulent claims to Medicare and Medicaid for the drug (United States v. Jennifer Hess, No. 18cr142, W.D. Pa.).
CINCINNATI — A woman’s False Claims Act (FCA) lawsuit accusing a senior living center of failing to submit to Medicare certifications supporting the need for medical services for patients was reinstated June 11 by a 2-1 Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel, after it found that the woman’s allegations satisfied the act’s requirements for materiality and scienter (United States, ex rel. Marjorie Prather v. Brookdale Senior Living Communities Inc., et al., No. 17-5826, 6th Cir., 2018 U.S. App. LEXIS 15617).
LEXINGTON, Ky. — Farmers defrauded the United States through the filing of false insurance claims reimbursed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and by making false statements and reports in connection with the federally reinsured crop insurance program, the government alleges in a June 6 indictment filed in a Kentucky federal court (United States v. Bradley Price, et al., No. 18-cr-60, E.D. Ky.).
SAN JOSE, Calif. — A federal judge in California on June 8 denied a general practitioner’s motion for acquittal on charges of health care fraud, finding that the spreadsheets and explanation of benefit (EOB) documents presented by the government constituted sufficient evidence showing that the doctor submitted fraudulent claims to insurance companies (United States v. Vilasini Ganesh, et al., No. 16cr00211, N.D. Calif., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 97028).
TRENTON, N.J. — A New Jersey appeals court panel on June 5 reversed a judge’s decision to grant a request for pretrial intervention (PTI) from an attorney accused of insurance fraud, finding that the judge erred when vacating a different judge’s previous ruling denying the request (New Jersey v. Neal Pomper, No. A-3969-16T1, N.J. Super., App. Div., 2018 N.J. Super. Unpub. 1305).
PITTSBURGH — A Pennsylvania appeals court panel on May 31 affirmed a woman’s conviction and 20- to 40-month sentence for insurance fraud and arson, finding that she received effective assistance of counsel (Pennsylvania v. Julia Ann Calipo, No. 1929 WDA 2016, Pa. Super., 2018 Pa. Super. Unpub. LEXIS 1861).
CHICAGO — An Illinois federal judge on June 1 stayed a coverage dispute between an insolvent Missouri insurer and an insured doctor regarding coverage provided under a professional liability insurance policy pending the duration of the liquidation proceedings (Galen Insurance Co. v. Vittorio Guerriero, M.D., et al., No. 15-06993, N.D. Ill., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 91393).